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Procreative freedom is "the freedom to decide whether or not to have offspring and to control the use of one's reproductive capacity." Robertson, a legal bioethicist who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin's law school, argues that the principle of procreative liberty should be used to determine the ethics and legalities of the many controversial issues surrounding reproductive technology. While obviously favoring his procreative liberty approach, the author allows some discussion of conflicting viewpoints. Robertson's position may not be universally accepted, but his works are regularly cited and his perspective is given significant coverage in many books on this topic. In addition to the much-discussed issues of abortion and surrogacy, Robertson also discusses new issues such as fetal tissue transplants and prenatal genetic screening. While the basic technological facts in this book may become dated, the legal philosophy presented may serve as a foundation for future considerations. Highly recommended for academic and special libraries. Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
One day Robertson was struck by a newspaper story that posed all sorts of ethical questions: A wealthy couple die, leaving an estate of eight million dollars and no one to claim it except their test-tube "orphans," the frozen embryos of the couple. Are the embryos really orphans? Do they have legal claim to the money? The problem, Robertson argues, is not simply technical. Although birth was traditionally a matter for nature or God or both, reproduction is now becoming increasingly "subject to human will and technical expertise." To put all this in context, Robertson surveys the available reproductive techniques and options, from abortion and contraception to the various ways of reproducing and of screening for suitable characteristics. The individual and societal conflicts are presented for each option, with Robertson generally arguing in favor of freedom of choice. Should be of interest to students of society as well as the many prospective users of these technologies. Brian McCombie